Updated on April 23: This article was originally published on Jan. 7 and has since been updated with new display and CPU configurations as well as information on the refreshed ROG G703.
LAS VEGAS -- The Mothership has landed, and frankly, I don't know what to make of it.
Asus’ new ROG Mothership GZ700 is part gaming laptop, part desktop and totally awesome. Launching sometime during Q2 2019 (price TBD), the hybrid device includes an adjustable kickstand and a detachable keyboard. It'll boast a beefy 9th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU. Intel's latest processors are also making its way into the Razer Blade Pro, Razer Blade 15, ROG Zephyrus, TUF FX505 and ROG Strix.
At first, the Mothership looks kind of like a regular gaming laptop. There's a psuedo-lid with a glowing Republic of Gamers logo and everything. And then I watched the Asus rep pick it up and deploy a kickstand, turning the lid into the undercarriage.
Things got even stranger when the rep lowered the lid/undercarriage to reveal a full keyboard and touchpad of the rather unconventional laptop. Similar to the ROG Zephyrus S and the original ROG Zephyrus, the Mothership’s keyboard is pushed to the edge of the bottom lip. The touchpad sits in the right corner and doubles as digital Num pad.
Along the rear of the device, above the kickstand boasts a funky, futuristic pattern that functions as a large air vent. The space below the kickstand glows thanks to some well-placed LED lights.
But as weird as the design seems, the fun really begins when the rep removed the keyboard, folding it in half to reveal a Bluetooth-enabled peripheral. The Mothership essentially transformed from a laptop to an all-in-one complete with a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen with a 144 Hertz refresh rate. It will also be available with a 4K, 60Hz panel that offers 100% of Adobe sRGB.
At 10.4 pounds, the 16.1 x 12.6 x 1-inch system isn't the most portable desktop replacement, but it's definitely an uber-mobile all-in-one.
Something with such a ridiculous design sure as hell better have some crazy specs to match. Luckily, the Mothership delivers, serving up an overclockable 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU, up to 64GB of RAM, a trio of NVMe M.2 PCI SSD in RAID 0 configuration, a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. In order to prevent performance bottlenecks, two of the SSDs are connected to the CPU. That means file transfers and game launches should be exceptionally fast.
In terms of networking, the system has a Realtek 2.5G Ethernet port that Asus claims will more than double the speed of current wired ports. On the wireless front, you've got Intel’s next-generation Wi-Fi6 AX200 tech which plays nicely with Asus’ new RT-8X88U router.
Asus is also refreshing the ROG G703 with a factory overclocked 9th Gen Core i9 CPU, and the company is marketing it as a clamshell alternative to the ROG Mothership GZ700. We haven't reviewed the older model, but I got my hands on the new one.
It's quite the chunky beast, at 16.73 x 12.56 x 1.87~2.00 inches and 10.36 pounds. It has a gorgeous copper hinge, but its design is annoyingly big, even in the bezel region. The G703's keys offered deep travel that felt quite bouncy and comfortable against my fingertips. Interestingly enough, the keyboard holds a dedicated Xbox button, which is an uncommon feature. Hopefully we'll get this monster through our office soon.
Asus continues to stay on the cutting edge of gaming hardware. The Mothership is an outlandish device that I didn't know I wanted. While the hybrid design seems impractical on paper, it makes a compelling argument in person.
I’m eager to get my hands on it to see how it handles our stress test. But overall, Asus has changed the way I think about desktop replacements and gaming desktops.